The further into the season, the easier it gets to make an informed analysis. The Sycamores have played eight games (more than 2/3rds of their season). Statistically we know who they are. At 4-4 is the glass half full or half empty? I tend to think the later and here’s why.
Let’s start where championship teams are rooted. How good is Ind. State on defense? They rank 78/123 in total defense, giving up 399.2 YPG. They are 68th in run D at 161.2 YPG (4.3 YPC). Scoring D is 67th by yielding 28.6 PPG. This is very middling on the defensive side of the ball. Probably their best defensive effort was holding an offensively challenged Big 10 Northwestern (1-3 Big 10 record & 100/130 in total offense & 117th in scoring amassing 19.7 PPG) to a 24-6 victory. Sycamore’s scored in garbage time with three minutes left in game.
The test of a team’s strength is how they perform against ranked teams (below 150 Sagarin) and versus good offenses (+400 YPG).
Let’s start with their best two defensive efforts. First against E Kentucky (148 Sagarin), they gave up 287 Total Yards to a team that averages 335 YPG (a hard fought win on the road is always commendable). Northwestern (75 Sagarin) only got 275 TY’s, but 201 were rushing yards. The Wildcats controlled the ball game. I also think our run game is better than Northwestern’s. Both of these games were early in the season, so has this defense progressively gotten better?
Not really. In facing the Jacks, they faced a double star team with a 70 Sagarin and ranked 7th in the nation in total offense (TO) tallying 462.3 YPG. They also have played Mo. ST with a 112 Sagarin and 30th in TO at 420.6 YPG. Lastly they have played the Coyotes who rank 117 in Sagarin and average under 400 YPG). How did they fare against these robust MVFC brethren? They got killed 44-0 by SDSU, 37-7 by the Bears and 38-10 by the Coyotes. That’s an average score of 40-6. Those are called blowouts. These teams amassed an average of 458.7 YPG, 206.7 YPG rushing and holding the ball in Time of Possession 34 minutes to 26.
If we don’t go over 250 yards of rushing and 450 total yards and plus 40 points, then the Rams took the day off.
How are the Sycamores on offense? Not very good! They are 106/123 in TO with 282.2 YPG, 96th in rushing offense at 115.4 YPG and 104th in scoring offense at only 17.1 PPG. I’ve already stated how they fared against the cream of the MVFC (17 points in three games). Code Green’s only goal should be another shutout.
Vegas have the Herd a 29 point favorite. Unless there is a QB controversy hangover the Bison should give Indiana State their fourth blowout against the upper echelon of the League. This isn’t over confidence; the Sycamores have shown us who they are against the big boys in the league! Go Bison!